Despite exhausting all our options Nufel left the UK as his visa deadline approached. Our relationship was then placed on Skype life support. Endless calls were made for hours at a time where past regrets, current frustrations and future plans were exchanged.
Roughly two years later we were married in Newham Registry Office – a right of passage for many of Nufel’s married friends. My Mum actually came in the end despite her anxious concerns. I planned it all in just a few weeks – a service to include twelve guests and an evening meal for twenty four.
Nufel arrived in England two days before our wedding day. We still had a suit and rings to buy. Fresh from two long hall, cross continental flights Nufel met me at Holborn Station in London. I remember how we frantically browsed Oxford Street after a full English breakfast in British Home Stores (BHS). We bought our rings at H Samuel as they promised to resize ready for the next day. Looking back it was a stressful but wonderful few days. The day before our nuptials I went back to Essex for my ‘hen’ night with the Freitags (my best friend’s family who are like my own). I remember eating my lasagne and chips at the Green Man, Billericay with nerves in my belly for the following day. I was so happy that I was finally going to marry this man.
The day itself was low key but perfect. Those who meant most to us were all there. We went to Bath (stayed at the Bodhi Tree Guest House) for our honeymoon and then thoughts turned to our eventual departure to Bangladesh. We married on 24th June 2011 and nine months later Nufel, his brother and mother finally returned to England to meet me and bring me to Bangladesh. I remember driving on a hot day in my loyal Ford Fiesta all the way to Upton Park to meet them. His Mother was kind and generous and I was comfortable despite the language difficulties – she spoke very little English and I virtually no Bengali. I just remember his brother smiling from ear to ear as this strange event unfolded.
As expected that final week was practically and emotionally challenging. I left my job at the local Council, packed my cases and arranged final farewell meals with close friends and family. One friend (Julia) even baked a bespoke Bangladesh/UK flag cake to send us off. I remember hot tears as we all went our separate ways. Mum and I departed on difficult terms and she did not come to that good-bye dinner.
The newly weds just after our registration at Newham Registry Office